Clan Darkwolf

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Clan Darkwolf
Central Cimmerian plains and forests
Semi Nomadic. The clan follows the hunting trials of central Cimmeria during the spring and summer, making camp at regular points. In the winter it heads to the southern edge of the plains where the winters are not as harsh and makes a permanent camp called the wintervast.
No strong alliances.
No particular enemies
Darkwolf has a strong nomadic tradition. It knows, and follows, the hunting trails expertly, marking its territory with wolf skulls either set into trees or atop cairns of stone and wolf bone
Every warrior of the clan wears a wolf skin cloak and plaits a wolf tail into their hair. Wolf teeth are strung on necklaces which are worn around the neck, and bangles of wolf claws are worn on the wrists and ankles. The clan believes it has a deep kinship with the wolves of the central plains and conducts itself as a wolf pack might, with a central pack leader and all else subservient to him.
The moon, howled at by the wolves Darkwolf holds so dear, is referred to as Crom’s Eye; it is believed that Crom gazes down balefully at the earth from the sky and the howling of the wolves is their response to the dooms Crom sends to torment the world.
As nomads, the clan has many rituals and superstitions relating to travel and the following of the hunting trails. When pitching a camp, for instance, the yurts are always oriented in the same way, with the openings facing towards the east. However, the same postholes are never used twice as this is considered bad luck. Whenever three crows, rooks or ravens are seen to be nesting or roosting in an area, the clan will not camp there (as the three symbolise the Morrigan, Nemain and Badb). Nor will the clan camp within a mile of a known wolf-den, out of respect for the animals.
Darkwolf’s reputation as a warlike clan is well deserved. Its warriors fought at Venarium against Aquilonia, and there are many tales of the ferocity of the Darkwolf clansmen howling with the blood-lust and tearing into the invaders like a packed of starved wolves. Foremost of the Darkwolf warriors was Shawan; a lean, ferocious fi ghter who terrifi ed the Aquilonians and took many heads before falling to their spears. Until that point, Darkwolf had thought itself invincible; Shawan was viewed as the spirit of the clan, and his death brought a great sorrow that saw every clan member howl for a whole night.
Since then, Shawan has been honoured as an ancestor. The clan’s oracle claims that Shawan’s spirit was saved from wandering Crom’s bleak Otherland and, instead, has become a great, black-furred wolf who skulks the Cimmerian plains hunting the enemies of Cimmeria and the Darkwolf clan in particular. Many clansmen claim to have caught a glimpse of this huge, red-eyed, lean bodied, black-pelted animal stalking through the night, and so it has become a ritual to leave a portion of any hunt for Shawan’s wolf-shadow so that the beast will neither starve nor consider that the clan has forgotten him.
The clan travels on horseback. All its possessions are packed into huge panniers that are carried by pack horses whilst the clan members ride around the outside of the cargo. Women and children share horses, but men ride singly and always with weapons at the ready, either to hunt or to defend against raiders.
Shawan’s sword and spear are considered the clan’s greatest treasures. As nomads, a treasury would be a nuisance to transport, but Shawan’s weapons represent the finest warrior spirit of Darkwolf and they are held in reverence, always travelling with the chieftain.
The wolf skins and other lupine accoutrements the clan wears are considered clan treasures rather than personal possessions. Any Darkwolf clansman who dishonours the clan is stripped of all wolf accoutrements and expelled from the clan in disgrace. The wolf skin and tail is considered to be a potent symbolic tie to the lifestyle of the wolf and losing it akin to losing one’s soul.
Eoghan - Scarclaw
Once a fine, strong warrior in the same mould as Shawan, Eoghan was wounded at Venarium and has never fully recovered. Each year has seen his health slide and now he is a shadow of his former self. For many years he has hidden his pain behind a gruff persona but age and illness are taking their toll and Eoghan is now in a position of weakness.
The clan senses this. Others are preparing the challenge the leadership of the clan, including Eoghan’s three sons, all of them fi ne, strong, wolf warriors. Yet Eoghan has no intention of surrendering his position until it is absolutely inevitable. Despite his failing health he knows his time has not yet come. Eoghan believes that when – and only when – the Black Wolf comes to the edge of the wintervane and howls thrice will it be his time to depart for the Otherworld and whatever fate Crom has outlined there. Perhaps, sensing the immanency of this fate, the clan is prepared to honour Eoghan’s beliefs, but that does not stop the brooding tension building with Darkwolf’s ranks as the various pretenders to the chieftain’s saddle position themselves for leadership.
Notable Clan Members:
History and Outlook
Darkwolf is an old nomadic clan, and always highly singular. Its territories and trails are centuries old, its secrets well kept and its clan members tightly knit. Darkwolf has existed for as long as the Cimmerian legends recount and the bards believe that Darkwolf was Crom’s own wolf-hound who, upon the god’s retreat to his mountain, was given human form and told to form a clan from his pack. Thus was the clan born, and the wolf’s spirit manifests in all its warriors, fi nding its ultimate expression in Shawan.
When the Bloody Spear called the clans to Venarium, Darkwolf was first to answer – eager to make war on the invaders and test its warriors. Despite the losses to its men that day, Darkwolf made its name. No clan fought with more ferocity or took more heads of the enemy; it defended other clans who had previously feared it whilst taking the fight to an enemy that was better equipped and better organised. The howls of the Darkwolf warriors echoed above the war chants of the massed Cimmerians and drowned out the Aquilonian battle-cries. Shawan led the attacks and, when he fell, Darkwolf fought with deeper conviction, intent on avenging its loss.
Since then Darkwolf has gained new respect across the Cimmerian clans even though it remains true to its singular ideals and nomadic nature

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